Celebrities who rise to fame often amass large fortunes for themselves along the way. Success then snowballs into more success as these celebrities capitalize on their personal brand through licensing and other business ventures. But many of them stand to make even more money postmortem than while they were alive and kicking. Here is a list of recent celebrity losses with the highest net worths due to the highest caliber of performance throughout their careers.
Robin Williams, $100 million
At the time of his death in 2014, Robin Williams left behind an estate worth $100 million. Williams’ long list of exceptional awards began in 1979 when he won a Golden Globe as well as an Emmy nomination for best actor in Mork & Mindy plus a People’s Choice Award for his performance in the TV show “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” He went on to win more than five dozen awards over his career, most notably five more Golden Globes: in 1988 for “Good Morning, Vietnam,” in 1992 for “The Fisher King,” in 1993 for his vocal work in “Aladdin,” in 1994 for his performance in “Mrs. Doubtfire” and in 2005 the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Award for his outstanding contributions to the entertainment world. Over the years he had received four Oscar nominations, finally winning in 1998 for best supporting actor in “Good Will Hunting.”
Gene Wilder, $20 million
Though Wilder had experienced immense success as an actor, he also worked as a novelist, writing multiple novels and a memoir. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Wilder had amassed $20 million during his lifetime. He earned this net worth by starring in movies like The Producers, Willy Wonka & Chocolate Factory, and Young Frankenstein. Gene Wilder starred in four films together with Richard Pryor: Another You, Hear no evil, See no Evil, Stir Crazy and Silver Streak.
Mary Tyler Moore, $600 million
Moore is worth $60 million through her time in Hollywood. Moore had been married three times prior to her death. Through those three marriages, however, Moore has one child, Richard Meeker Jr. Moore gave birth to Meeker when she was 18-years old. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on October 14, 2010, an accident.
Tom Petty, $95 million
Tom Petty Net Worth as of 2018: $95 Million. Petty has racked up a total of $95 million dollars over the course of his career. He has led his band to 17 Grammy nominations and so much dang money. His passion for music paid off big time.
David Cassidy, $500,000
The child star was an icon for young girls throughout the 70s, reaching the height of his stardom at only 20-years-old with his role as Keith Partridge in the musical sitcom The Partridge Family. David Cassidy was worth $500,000 when he died. He earned his wealth from his acting roles in the 70s and his hit songs that placed him firmly in the teen idol hall of fame. Cassidy’s public life changed course when a teenage girl was crushed to death at one of his concerts in London’s White City Stadium in 1974, with another 800 concert-goers injured in the incident.
Prince, $18 million
Prince’s estate is estimated to be between $150 million to $300 million. Prince died on April 21, 2016, at age 57, but his music lives on. There are reports that his vault holds 2,000 unreleased songs. He was a recipient of Grammy Awards, Academy Awards, and even a Golden Globe. In 2004, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Artists everywhere will remember Prince for experimenting with alternate ways of releasing albums and for his struggle to free himself from being controlled by labels.
Carrie Fisher, $25 million
She reprised her role as Princess Leia in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in 2015. The movie broke several box office records. Carrie Fisher’s net worth was estimated to be $25 million at the time of her death in December, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Carrie Fisher spent a lifetime building her wealth.
Hugh Hefner, $50 Million
Current estimates of Hefner’s net worth range from $50 million to $110 million, a figure that the research organization Wealth-X quoted to Business Insider. The Telegraph reports that the publisher’s 70-percent ownership of Playboy was valued at $399 million in 1999 but declined significantly due to dwindling magazine sales.
Alan Thicke, $40 million
Alan Thicke is a Canadian actor, talk show host, and songwriter who has an estimated net worth of $40 million. Alan Thicke’s career started when he was selected to host the First Impression game show which was aired on Montreal’s CFCF-TV in the late 1970s. It was followed by primetime celebrity game show called Animal Crack-Ups. In 1977, he received his first Emmy nomination for his work on The Barry Manilow Special. With several appearances on television, he was best known as Jason Seaver from the hit TV series, Growing Pains. Other shows that he has been are The Love Boat, The Bold and The Beautiful, and How I Met Your Mother.
David Bowie, $9.5 million
His net worth at the time was $230 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Over the course of his career, he released 26 studio albums and 120 singles, 61 of which made the Top 40 and five of which went to No. 1. Bowie left about half of his fortune, $100 million, to his wife, model Iman. In the week following Bowie’s death, “Black Star” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200. It was also the No. 1 album in the U.K. Bowie received numerous awards over the course of his lengthy career. In 2006, he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award Grammy. He won a Brit Award in 1996 for Outstanding Contribution to Music and another one in 2014 for Best British Male Solo Artist. He got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1997.
Arnold Palmer, $700 million
Arnold Palmer was an American professional golfer and entrepreneur who had a net worth of $700 million. During his lifetime, Arnold Palmer was considered to be one of the greatest golfers of all time. Perhaps more impressively, during his career, Arnold earned more than $1.3 billion from endorsements and entrepreneurial ventures. Palmer was globally recognized for his achievements as a golfer and being part of “The Big Three” in golf, along with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, the three key players who are widely credited with popularizing and commercializing the sport around the world. Arnold Palmer died on September 25, 2016 at the age of 87.
Michael Jackson, $500 million
According to Forbes, he was “the highest annual total for any entertainer dead or alive,” thanks to the sale of his half of the Sony/ATV catalog. When Jackson died in 2009, he was worth an estimated $500 million.
Whitney Houston, $100 million
At one time Houston had a $100 million recording contract. Her net worth when she died in 2012 was $20 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
John Lennon, $12 million
John Lennon was a renowned singer with a net worth of $800 million throughout his entire career collectively but died with a net worth of $12 million. Apart from being a singer, John Lennon was a composer and a musician who was credited with the founding of the Beatles. Through the years, John Lennon had been performing with the most commercially successful and musically influential band in the history of popular music. Together with fellow band member Paul McCartney, they have developed much-celebrated songwriting partnership.
Bob Marley, $23 million
Bob Marley was a Jamaican reggae singer/songwriter and musician who has a net worth of $130 million dollars throughout his entire career, collectively. In July 1977, Marley was diagnosed with a type of malignant melanoma under the nail of a toe. This lesion was a symptom of already-existing cancer in his body. Marley turned down his doctor’s advice to have his toe amputated, citing his religious beliefs, and instead, the nail and nail bed were removed and a skin graft taken from his thigh to cover the area. Despite his illness, he continued touring and scheduling a world tour for 1980. Marley’s health deteriorated as cancer had spread throughout his body and Bob Marley died on May 11, 1981, at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Miami (now University of Miami Hospital) at the age of 36.
Elvis Presley, $35 million